Inauguration Day: Behind-the-scenes logistics

Senate Sergeant At Arms Terry Gainer says it was his job to escort the two presidents out of the Capitol that day. As Gainer walked the Obamas and Bushes through the Capitol Rotunda on the way to the east steps of the Capitol, Obama leaned over and asked him a question. (WTOP/Mark Segraves)

WASHINGTON – It’s an understatement to say Monday’s Inauguration Day public swearing-in ceremony takes a lot of planning.

Behind the scenes, one man has a very important job: logistics.

Senate Sergeant at Arms Terry Gainer says Inauguration Day is one of his biggest challenges.

One task Gainer says he needs to address is “how to get all the VIPs into the building and in position to start on time.”

He says on the immediate inaugural platform, there are “about 1,500 people.”

But these aren’t just any people. They include Supreme Court justices, members of the House and Senate, former presidents and spouses and even foreign dignitaries.

And because of the VIPs, security is the top priority.

The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration spells out many of the initial mandates, but Gainer’s office helps enforce them, he says.

Some of the tasks Gainer coordinates include parking logistics, military escorts and where military snipers might be needed.

Gainer says he is lucky in one aspect. He doesn’t decide who sits next to whom.

WTOP’s Mark Segraves contributed to this report. Follow @SegravesWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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